Vodaphone Mobile Advertising Breakfast – mmmm free food

I went to the Vodaphone Mobile Advertising breakfast last Wednesday. It was sponsored by B&T, and was mostly about Vodaphone’s offerings in the mobile advertising world. So the seminar was more about educating the market about the advertising opportunities available through Vodaphone. The market in Australia is immature, as it has only been around for like 12 months, whereas overseas they have been doing mobile advertising for 2years at least.

Most of the people in attendance were from ad agencies, experiential advertising agencies and people in the mobile field. They spoke about opportunies to advertise through the Vodaphone Live portal (which can be accessed through most phones on the Voda network). I believe it is similar to the Optus Zoo online portal.

Different options available to advertisers include:

– banner advertising through the portal which take up 20% of the screen.
– MMS / SMS sends (2million phones can recieve MMS and all phones on network can recieve SMS). Incidentally 70% of phones are bluetooth enabled across all networks.
– advertising in voda booklets found in mobile stores
– LBS: Location Based Sends

They also went through some case studies of clients that have advertised through them like 20th Century Fox and the new reformulated disgusting Wolfmother drink.

The majority of Voda’s customer base is young (50% + under 35 years old), so it suits certain products better like energy drinks or movies. You can actually send up to 15 seconds worth of movie footage via MMS.

Typical advertising packages cost about $35ks which include 4 templates, mockups. They also have a package for SME’s at 10K, which is pretty good value. Much like email marketing, marketer’s need to bring their own databaes to send out to.  

Although, the seminar as a whole was a bit cheesy and the breakfast wasn’t that great (wafer like bacon), it was still beneficial for me to get out and meet people in the industry, and to learn more about the world of mobiles. I actually asked the second question during Q&A time about QR codes (Quick response) codes, to which the presenter was a bit hesistant to answer .

QR codes are essentially bar codes which contain a lot of information like website details, numbers, or whatever you would like to put on them. They have become popularised by the japanese who now use them for advertising as phones can now decode these barcodes. They are used to bring 2D objects into the online realm by directing people to websites or to gain further information. Recently Telstra has brought them into the market place and I asked whether Vodaphone was going to look at them too. The answer was yes, but a bit of a convoluted, confusing answer.

I’m out like wafer bacon,

Matt Ho.



The lengths some people go to take photos

The lengths some people go to take photos

The last couple of posts have been mostly focused on google innovations / online social media. I thought I’d mention something a bit different. Bumped into a friend of friend, Aaron on the train and we started talking about photography and SLR cameras. Just talking to him for the second time inspired me to think about photography and investing in a decent camera. Currently I’ve got a Sony cybershot 6.0 which set me back about $440 + (including the memory card) which I bought last year.

But I’ve recently been checking out photos of my friend’s on Flickr and other people. I love the pics where the pictures in the foreground are clear and the ones in the background are blurry – which I’ve been told is the “SLR effect”. SLR means “Single Lens Reflex“. The advantage of SLR’s is that you can change the focus and the lenses (i.e. put on a new lens). That’s how people can get the wide angle shots and those mad shots you see in magazines.

The thing I dont like about SLR’s is that they are clunky and heavy to carry. Its harder to blend in when your travelling or want to take pics without being noticed. What some people do, is carry both  – an SLR and a point N shoot camera. Some also carry video cameras too! So they dont miss a single second.

I’ve been checking out this Flickr of Tim Rudder and also Andrew Cato’s blog, who did my mates wedding on the weekend. Some inspiring stuff. I’m going to have to look into these cameras as they dont come cheap and maybe some photography lessons. I might start off with a basic camera and go from there.

When I was travelling, I took so many pics and I’ve posted my best ones on Flickr, so check’em out here.

Also, I’m going to Clickaholics on Thursday @ Watershed – its an industry cocktail event for those in online. Check it:

With 710 people attending the last Sydney event, Clickaholics is the major calendar event for all in Digital Marketing. This even is shaping up to be even bigger with 1,200+ people RSVP’ed already on facebook. We have built our events to this level by following the simple formula of offering an evening where the industry can seriously network in a relaxed, fun environment.

I’m out like point n shoot cameras,


Streets is searching – Google street view

In a time long forgotten, men voyaged the earth without knowing when it would end. They did not know for sure what would lay next. Was the world round or flat? How far was the next mountain? How high was the sky? Did humans live on other parts of the world?

In search of these answers, they sailed the high seas, faced starvation, disease and stared death in the face. These brave souls combatted the desire to return home and brokered peace with humans in new places (and killed quite a few of these natives too). These men forged new paths, new societies, crossing cultural and physical boundaries and created new ones for generations to follow.

In the last 24hrs, the inhabitants of Australia have just moved into unforeseen terrority. Actually, it might be seen terrority. Google has introduced street view for Google maps for Australia, which has literally put Australia on the map. Street view allows you to see an actual address using real images. Instead of seeing a traditinoal 2D line representing a street, you can see bricks and mortar – and concrete, trees, cars and people! You see the same view as if you were standing there. It is quite amazing. The trippiest thing is that it allows you to walk up and down the street, and do a 360 degree panoramic spin. Check out the corner of George St & Bathurst St, one of the busiest intersections in the city.

I’ve used it before in New York and in San Fran, and its so handy. I was going to meet up with a friend in downtown San Fran near his work. Since I had never been there before, I had to look it up on a map. So I jumped onto Google street view and saw the actual building and the surroundings so I wouldn’t get lost. It blew me away with the accuracy and realism.

There is also plenty of advertising opportunites available as well with virtual tours, virtual advertising, ability to have specific ads for certain street addresses. People now are able to leave reviews of a restaurant, comments about a bar, etc…

There’s some more official info on it via Google’s Australia blog. It takes realism to a whole new level. However, it also takes stalking to a whole new level as well. Google’s politically correct line is that you are not seeing anything beyond what you would see if you were standing there yourself. It’s true. but its just so …… intrusive. Having the world at your fingertips and every location you would ever want.

I can just imagine a bank robber testifying in court saying how they used google street view to case a bank, study exit strategies, etc… Or potential terrorist targets being indentified.

On the brighter side, I also managed to follow the tour de france route along the Champ D Elysees, and had a look at the Arc D Triumph. Its still looks magnificent and brings back memories of when I stopped at the same traffic island and took a photo.

I’m out like regular street directories,


Dialing into the future with Xummi and Google Android

Mobile Mondays

Mobile Mondays

MoMo – Mobile Mondays

I turned up to my first Mobile Monday event tonite in Sydney. Mobile Mondays are chapters or societies in different cities dedicated to learning more about mobiles, mobile marketing and for networking opportunites for those in the mobile industry.

The event began by talking about general industry trends relating to mobile and internet. The most interesting fact was that China has now overtaken the US as the greatest number of internet users. Which is suprising given that the U.S has 70% penetration of its population using internet, while China only has a fraction at 19%. Kinda scary numbers as the internet hasn’t been fully adopted in China yet.

Xumii – Mobile Social Networking

The warmup act was Xumii, which is a company from San Francisco. It is developing a platform to use across existing social networking applications for mobiles. It’s great little application where you can chat to all your friends across different instant messenger platforms like MSN, AIM, googletalk, etc.., check the status of your friends, have RSS sent to your mobile, access facebook, myspace, etc… Consider it like a friendfeed for mobiles. It doesn’t really create anything new, it just lets your social networking applications talk to your mobile.

Friendfeed is brilliant in this way, and Xumii‘s use is quite similar. It allows you to keep track of your social applications and gives you a single access point from your mobile. They have worked together with Facebook, youtube, etc.. to use their existing features and security log ins.

You can drag all your contacts from online to your mobile and it lets you have private conversations with different groups of people. Instead of sending an SMS to all your friends to find out where they are, consider this scenario: check the status of your friends to see whether they are on the computer or on their mobile Xumii’s. Message the group of people that’s out and about telling them where to go and also upload a gif image of a map to direct them.

For me, what we are seeing, is a mobile being used as a greater social tool to organise and keep in contact with your friends. We don’t have to talk to them to know what they are up to. That is the beauty of facebook, its allows you to voyueristically see what your friends are up to by looking at their status, what’s going on in their lives by checking the messages on their walls and perusing their photos. Xumii brings that mindset and capability to the mobile.

The biggest question facing Xumii and its competitors is how to monetise this platform – because Xumii is free. The presenters mentioned having wall or profile page where advertisers could display current events coming up that the user is interested in – like local concerts, discounted offers, etc… They also mentioned revenue share with the carriers and so on. But as a business proposition, one really has to wonder how they will make money off Xumii. It is the same problem facing other social media like Facebook, Youtube, etc…

Overall, I thought it was cool application bordering on a product pitch to VC’s in Silicon Valley. My other concern besides monetisation is competition. Because of the similarities to Friendfeed, if Friendfeed developed a mobile application, would Xumii have trouble competiting? That remains to be seen, despite this, I think this is a step in the right direction for the future of mobile.

However, do people want to be contactable by their 400 friends on Facebook, so they can see what they are up to all times via their mobiles? For someone like me, who is really into web 2.0 products like RSS, social bookmarking, folksonomies, facebook, etc… I think its pretty cool. But they are times where you just dont want to be bothered by other people, I can understand if people simply switch off their phones to escape from the madness of the world.

Future of Mobile – Google Android

The main event of the night, was Google’s presenter Justin Baird on the future of mobile. He started off by presenting some interesting stats such as there being 1.3Billion people having internet access versus 3.3Billion having mobile phones. Obviously, mobile presents a wealth of untapped opportunites. there are more people sending SMS than using search engines. Everyone in the developed world has a mobile – if not one, than two!

Justin talked about a bunch of other stuff, but the only stuff which I remember was what we had all been waiting for – The Andriod – Google’s answer to the Apple Iphone. A very cool device I must say. Again, this bordered on being a product pitch, but that’s what happens when you attend a marketing event.

The Android is really different to any other phone because it an open source product, which I found rather interesting. The Apple Iphone or any other phone, is a static device because you only use the applications already found on your mobile i.e. they have already been preprogrammed on there. Being capable of open source, means that new developments and applications can be constantly added. Google is adopting a similar practice to its igoogle portal which has open source for its applications. I’ve got a igoogle portal, and I’m fascinated by the amount of widgets they have developed for it. You name it, and they’ve got it. If they dont have it, you can develop it, if you have the necessary know how. That is one of the reasons facebook is so popular, because new apps are constantly being developed by the user community.

I think we will see a lot more mashup apps involving google maps. What the phone does is triangulate your position using cell towers, giving you a fairly good idea of where you are. The thing that really blew me away was compass function using google maps. Imagine having a screen showing you where you want to go. When you move, the phone acts like a compass and adjusts the picture based on where you have moved, giving you a real picture. Very cool.

In addition, because Google is behind it, you know that search has to be incorporated somehow. the stats really surprised me. The click through rate for display ads on google typically is 0.2%. However, on mobiles, that rate is 2%. That’s a 10 fold increase. I tell you why – because the ads become even more relevant based on your location. If your current location is say Parramatta, and you search for restaurants and ads come up for that area, you are more inclined to click on those ads on your mobile. With the unleashing of True Local, we will really see the power of geographic based ads.

From the presentation and my own experience overseas, Australia is really behind globally in the mobile experience. But we are catching up. I remember friends of mine in New York, using blackberries to search for places using google maps. In the U.S they also have unlimited data ability for their phones. Phone data charges here are quite prohibitive – the carriers have to work together to find a way to somehow get to the level of unlimited data downloads. But its probably not going to happen because we can’t get enough people onto the network to make that feasible.

After this presentation, I really do think there are lot more marketing and innovative opportunites we can use with mobiles. I mean more people have mobiles than computers. A mobile is our social currency and keeps us attuned with our friends and family. It is only natural that it becomes even more extended into our lives. Once we can get full internet functionability on our phones, we will really see the true power of mobiles. And there really won’t be a distinction between online and offline. We’ll always be connected.

I’m out like dial up phones.

Matt Ho.